Reduced Charges to Be Filed Against MK Hanin Zoabi Under Plea Bargain

Joint Arab List member agrees to admit to insulting public servant in Nazareth court, apologize, and will not contest lifting of her immunity – as per plea deal.

MK Haneen Zoabi. She  was accused of offending Arab policemen in a Nazareth courthouse in early July 2014, days after the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem.
Daniel Bar-On

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein sent a letter Monday to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein notifying him that an indictment will be filed against Knesset member Haneen Zoabi (Joint Arab List). Zoabi will not be charged with incitement to violence, but agreed to admit that she insulted a civil servant as per the terms of a plea bargain which she signed with the State Prosecutor’s Office two weeks ago.

Weinstein sent the letter as part of the procedure involved in lifting Zoabi’s parliamentary immunity. According to the plea deal, she agreed to allow the Knesset to do so without challenging the move.

Zoabi was accused of offending Arab policemen in a Nazareth courthouse in early July 2014, days after the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem. The policemen were in attendance at the remand hearings for several Arabs arrested during the demonstrations protesting the boy’s murder.

Under the deal, Zoabi will admit to insulting police officers, apologize and pay a 500-shekel ($125) fine, but the much more serious charge of incitement to violence will be dropped.

Weinstein attached a letter of apology from her to the charge sheet he sent Edelstein. In her letter, Zoabi wrote that her statements were made in the context of “the harsh arrests, were uttered in a fit of emotion only and do not represent my style or way [of conducting myself], and I did not intend to hurt anyone.”

“I regret saying these things and apologize to anyone who was offended," the MK wrote. "This incident is an exception because inappropriate statements are not my way [of acting]."

Two Arab policemen complained that during the hearings in question, Zoabi had insulted them for serving in the Israel Police Force. Among other things, they said, she called them “collaborators with the oppressor against their own people.” She also allegedly said that other Arabs “should wipe the floor with them” and “spit in their faces,” and told them “they should be afraid” of the shabab, referring to militant Arab youths.

A few days after the courtroom incident, at the police's request, Attorney General Weinstein ordered a criminal investigation of Zoabi’s conduct, some of which was photographed and posted online.